First Steps

dreamstime-xxl-18914524.jpgPlanning a funeral starts the first day or so after the death of a loved one. Here are the first steps in making funeral arrangements.

It is not always easy to get your mind in gear to plan for a funeral as you are in the midst of deep emotions and grief, but these steps will help you organize the funeral planning process.

Funeral planning can be a positive task. The reminiscing, evaluating, and weighing that takes place when planning a service can be an important part of the grieving and healing process. As you think through your loved one's life, you may find the outlines of a potential service begin to emerge.

Some aspects of the planning will be determined by the depth of the person's religious faith or for their love for a particular kind of music, flower, or poetry. Other aspects may be determined by family, community, geographical location, and your own creative skills.

The following are the first steps for funeral planning:

1. Sit down with pen and paper in hand and begin planning. If you find this is difficult, ask another family member or friend to help you who may be able to offer suggestions. You may also want to consult your affiliated clergy who may be able to provide spiritual and emotional support. A funeral director can help provide some practical advice.

2. Think about what kind of person your loved one was: was she socially active or were family and friends her main interest? How would other people have described her? What type of music did she like? Thinking through this will help you to plan a service that fits your loved one's personality.

3. Did the deceased leave any instructions? Most people find that carrying out the last wishes of a loved one can be emotionally satisfying. Although some requests may not be able to be met for various reasons, its important to consider each one and determine which would be practical and comfortable.

4. Will the service be secular or religious? If your loved one was deeply religious and a long time member of a certain congregation then it would be natural to hold the service of their denomination. Choosing a secular or non-religious service does not mean you have to abandon religion altogether. You might choose to hold the service outside a church but bring in a member of clergy to speak or include bible verses or funeral hymns. If your thinking of a service between the deeply religious and non-religious, its perfectly acceptable to include what you feel comfortable with or as requested by the deceased.

5. Will you hold a Funeral Service or Memorial Service. The difference between the two is the body is present at the funeral service whereas in the Memorial Service, it is not. Funeral homes can accommodate either desire, The Memorial Service has become the more increasingly wider choice because it offers the most flexibility.

6. Who will hold the service? Funerals are still largely planned by the family or very close friends of the deceased. Memorial Services can be held by family, friends, or any interested people.

7. Who attends the service? Funeral or memorial services can be attended by a small number of family and friends or by a large group of friends, acquaintances or anyone who cares to attend.

8. When is the service held? The funeral is usually closely associated to the traditional burial and is often held within days of the death. A memorial service offers more flexibility. It can be held right after death, like the funeral service or can be delayed quite awhile after the death.

Don't forget to include the funeral programs in your planning. It is a small detail but will have a big impact. View our beautiful design collection of funeral programs.

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